Daily Archives: April 1, 2015

(CT) Bob Smietana Why 'RFRA' Is America's Latest Four-Letter Word

Marci Hamilton, professor of public law at Yeshiva University, was the attorney for the city that opposed the church expansion. She’s become a leading critic of RFRA, and argues that the law was unconstitutional from the start. Now, she says, state lawmakers have turned the law into a tool for intentional discrimination.

“The original federal RFRA was misguided and a leap from prior First Amendment doctrine,” she wrote on her blog about the Indiana law, “but it was nothing like this new iteration in the conservative states.”

Lawmakers tinkering with the RFRA language in recent years have turned it into a political minefield, says J. Brent Walker, executive director for the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, which has supported RFRA laws since the 1990s. The 1993 version protected believers against the government. Some newer state versions also protect corporations, and can be used in civil lawsuits between individuals.

Walker says now it’s time to take a break, since RFRA’s reputation has taken such a hit.

Read it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

(NYT Op-ed) David Brooks–Religious Liberty and Equality

If the opponents of that law were arguing that the Indiana statute tightens the federal standards a notch too far, that would be compelling. But that’s not the argument the opponents are making.

Instead, the argument seems to be that the federal act’s concrete case-by-case approach is wrong. The opponents seem to be saying there is no valid tension between religious pluralism and equality. Claims of religious liberty are covers for anti-gay bigotry.

This deviation seems unwise both as a matter of pragmatics and as a matter of principle. In the first place, if there is no attempt to balance religious liberty and civil rights, the cause of gay rights will be associated with coercion, not liberation. Some people have lost their jobs for expressing opposition to gay marriage. There are too many stories like the Oregon bakery that may have to pay a $150,000 fine because it preferred not to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony. A movement that stands for tolerance does not want to be on the side of a government that compels a photographer who is an evangelical Christian to shoot a same-sex wedding that he would rather avoid.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government, The U.S. Government, Theology

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Media, Parish Ministry, Theology

A S Haley–Federal Appeals Court Returns Trademark Action to South Carolina District Court

…there are now two very good reasons why ECUSA and its rump group should have no cause to celebrate their opportunity to go before Judge Houck once more with their claims of “infringement.” The first is that the injunction against Bishop vonRosenberg remains in effect pending their appeal (which they have asked the South Carolina Supreme Court to hear directly, thus bypassing the Court of Appeals if the Supreme Court grants their request). If he is prevented from claiming to be the Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, how can he say he owns the trademarks which have been adjudicated to belong to Bishop Lawrence and his Diocese?

Second, if the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina had the right to withdraw from ECUSA, as now finally adjudged in the Illinois courts, then it has the right to keep its marks and trade names — and ECUSA (and by extension ECSC, since the latter claims to be one of ECUSA’s dioceses) are both now barred from arguing to the contrary.

Judge Houck thought he was doing Bishop vonRosenberg a favor by declining to accept jurisdiction of his suit. Now that he is required to revisit that decision, however, he might just proceed (in due course, after appropriate motions and briefing) to the merits, and add his own adverse decision to the ones in the State courts of Illinois, Texas and South Carolina. ECUSA has asked for a decision, and now it will get one (but not for several more months).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Presiding Bishop, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, Theology

Six Utah women share their faith journeys

The evening concluded with the story of how Wendy Stovall, an assistant pastor in Utah’s Unification Church, started by Rev. Sun Myung Moon, found her way from Zimbabwe to a London park, where she met a friend from that faith.

Raised as an Anglican, Stovall found little comfort in that tradition after her divorce as a young woman. The Unification Church, she said, held many answers to the theological questions that troubled her. “God,” she said, “was taking a role in my life.”

That view was a common thread in the evening’s tapestry.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Buddhism, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Other Faiths, Presbyterian, Religion & Culture, Women

For April Fool's day 2015–Anglicanism iTransformed!

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, --Social Networking, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Humor / Trivia, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Theology

(Independent) Quiz: Is this an April Fools' Day joke or not?

I found it hard–see how you do.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, History, Humor / Trivia, Media

A Look Back to April Fools Day 2007–'Harmon to Shut Down TitusOneNine, Abandon Blogging'

From there:

Noted blogger and conservative Anglican theologian The Rev. Canon Kendall S. Harmon, who runs the highly-trafficked weblog TitusOneNine, announced today that he is giving up blogging. Dr. Harmon, an Oxford-educated theologian, explained the sudden change as an inevitable move that was long overdue.

“No matter how you look at it, the Anglican blogosphere has been an abject failure,” Harmon said in a telephone interview from his home in Summerville, South Carolina. “What has it done? Has it exposed the spiritual depravity of the Episcopal Church’s leadership? No. Has it been a key source of information for tens of thousands of Anglicans in America, who up to now depended entirely on the mainstream media and diocesan newsletters? Please! Has it brought together orthodox Episcopalians from all over the country, and helped position them for a renewal of Anglicanism in North America? Yeah”¦” he huffed, “Right.”

Some of Harmon’s colleagues were stunned at his announcement. “I just saw him at a Starbucks in Plano a few days ago,” said The Rev. Canon David Roseberry. “He had his laptop open and his cel phone to his ear. After I got my skinny venti mocha latte, I shouted his name several times. At one point I banged on the counter really loud to get his attention. He didn’t even look up. I know he heard me, because he raised his hand and made some gesture, like he was waving toward the door. But he was fixated on the screen, pounding the keyboard like a man possessed. He was truly in his element.”
Harmon has been aggressively dieting since the summer of 2006, and some experts speculate that the reduced caloric intake may be affecting his judgement, perhaps loosening his grip on reality. “Come to think of it, the frantic calls between the hours of midnight and 3:00 a.m. have increased dramatically,” says Bishop Martyn Minns of Virginia. “But on the other hand, look at him – he’s positively svelte. One might even say ”˜aerodynamic.’”

Tenuous connection to reality or not, Harmon says he is excited about combining exercise with his diet. “Now that I won’t be spending nine, ten, eleven hours a day parked in front of a computer working on this stupid blog, I can spend more time on my pilates.” Neighbors even claim they have been awakened in pre-dawn hours by the sound of Tae-Bo tapes, coming from Harmon’s residence.

“He used to be such a nice boy,” said Mrs. Mildred Kratz, an across-the-street neighbor of Harmon’s. “Always blogging. I’d see him in the yard and say, ”˜Now Kendall, you need to get back in there and blog. That blog’s not going to write itself!’ And we’d just laugh and laugh. Nowadays, the only time I see him is when he walks down the driveway to get the mail, and even then, he doesn’t speak”¦ just makes a big point to flex his glutes as he walks back inside.”

Posted in Uncategorized

The Church of Ireland Gazette editions for 1915 digitized and fully searchable online

Users should note that the extent of the data is too large to provide online as a page”“turnable pdf, but once they have identified an item of interest within a particular issue, it is possible to browse through the contents of that issue as each individual page appears as a thumbnail along the top of the search box.

The Gallipoli Campaign by the Allied forces began on Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915, (and would continue for over 8 months until 9 January 1916). Five days after it began, the Gazette edition for Friday 30 April 1915 was published. Its by now weekly column “The War Week by Week” (narrating the latest news on the war) carried an interesting analysis of the operation to attack German and Ottoman naval vessels at sea, and land British and French troops on both sides of the Dardanelles Straits (of vital strategic importance as the main sea route into the Russian Empire).

Wow-just wow. Read it all and follow the links.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet, Church History, Church of Ireland, England / UK, Ireland, Media, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Ross Douthat–Questions For Indiana’s Critics

Today, though, as I said above, I think the consensus center-left position has basically shifted toward the argument offered by Garrett Epps for The Atlantic: It doesn’t matter if Stutzman or any other wedding vendor is a nice person with sincere religious beliefs, and it doesn’t matter if she or they would provide her services to gay clients in any other context; her religious anxiety about decorating a wedding chapel for a same-sex couple is no different from the objection to integration of a Southern store-owner whose preacher taught him the races should be separate, and needs to be dismissed with extreme prejudice lest anti-gay discrimination flourish and spread.

And whether you find this view, this analogy, persuasive or you don’t, it has a lot of possible further implications. Because in the annals of American history, both Jim Crow and the means we used to destroy it are, well, legally and culturally extraordinary. So if our current situation with same-sex marriage and religious conservatives really is analogous, there is no obvious reason why we’ve reached any kind stopping point once the florists and bakers have been appropriately fined or closed down.

Hence the following seven questions about future steps, which I’ll pose specifically to Epps and generally to the Indiana law’s many liberal critics. Some are rooted in real-life examples and possibilities; some are much more (I think) unlikely. But I’m still quite interested in whether people would support them if they were to become plausible options a little ways down the road.

Read it all and there is a WSJ editorial on it there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, State Government, Theology

(WSJ) Peaceful Transition After Nigerian Election Would Be Relative Rarity in Africa

The election of the erstwhile strongman Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s new president has set in motion what has been rare for the continent and even rarer for his country: a peaceful transition of power from a ruling party to the opposition.

The 72-year-old former general campaigned against the political establishment, courted the youth vote, and won an election broadly considered free and fair.

Mr. Buhari’s upset of an incumbent Nigerian president, said Philippe de Pontet, the Washington-based Africa head for Eurasia Group, a research and risk-consulting firm, is “arguably the most consequential political event in Africa in the last decade.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria, Politics in General

A Prayer to Begin the Day from L. Tuttiet

O God our heavenly Father, who to redeem the world didst deliver up thine only Son to be betrayed by one of his disciples and sold to his enemies: Take from us, we beseech thee, all covetousness and hypocrisy; and so strengthen us, that, loving thee above all things, we may remain steadfast in our faith unto the end; through him who gave his life for us, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Holy Week, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Scripture Readings

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.

–Philippians 4:4-9

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(BBC) Nigeria's Goodluck Jonathan: Five reasons why he lost

Nigerians are so used to the idea that an incumbent should win presidential elections that President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to beat Gen Muhammadu Buhari needs some explaining. Here are five reasons why the opposition won

Read it all and see what you make of the list.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, History, Nigeria, Politics in General

(Ang Journal) The Diocese of Brandon bishop, James Njegovan, announces his retirement

On Palm Sunday, Bishop James Njegovan of the diocese of Brandon announced in a pastoral letter that effective July 31, 2015, he will be retiring after 13-and-a-half-years of episcopal service.

“For some this announcement may come as a surprise,” he said in the letter. But, he added, without elaborating, that for others “as much as I may regret it””it will not be entirely unwelcome news.”

In an interview with the Anglican Journal, Njegovan said there was no connection between his decision to retire and the diocesan lawsuit currently underway involving his son, Noah Njegovan. Bishop Njegovan’s episcopacy has faced challenges in the last two years since his son was charged with fraud for his alleged use of a diocesan business credit card for personal expenses during his time as diocesan archdeacon from 2009 to 2012. Although the Crown withdrew its charges against Noah Njegovan in 2014, the diocese subsequently launched a $350,000 civil lawsuit against him, claiming damages of $250,000 for fraud, breach of trust, breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation, and $100,000 for punitive and exemplary damages. The bishop has refrained from involvement or comment on the case, citing his personal relationship with his son.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(FP) Fourth Time’s the Charm: Buhari Ousts Jonathan in Nigerian Election

In his fourth democratic bid for Nigeria’s presidency, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari finally claimed victory Tuesday, beating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by more than 3 million votes, according to early counts of the polling.

Results are not yet official, but Buhari has claimed victory, and according to media reports, Jonathan has called his rival and conceded defeat.

The election marks the first time since Nigeria’s 1999 transition from military rule that the People’s Democratic Party has lost the country’s presidency and the first time an incumbent has been ousted from the office.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

Tuesday Afternoon Mental Health Break–Alleluia (Randall Thompson)

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Music